If you've ever decided to take your bicycle on a flight, chances are you have purchased and crammed your prize possession into a bicycle specific bag or box of some sort. Having used several of these myself to cart my bike around numerous times, I've always been petrified that my 2 wheeled friend will be damaged in transit, spending the entirety of my journey squirming in my seat and wondering what I'll find on the other side.
Currently, the internal layout of most bike bags is very similar- take both wheels off, remove/ drop the seatpost, turn the bars and then place within the bag, often with dedicated sections for the wheels. Although this is fairly straightforward, it results in a very long and cumbersome form factor. Higher end bags will have some sort of internal structure to stiffen up the bag, protecting the bike and making it easier to manoeuvre, although due to the length of the bag and the relatively high centre of gravity they are very difficult to wheel around with ease- prone to toppling over and putting most of the weight in the owners hand (if they even have wheels). Lets just say you're not the most popular person on the train on the way to the airport with one of these bags- and don't even think about booking a regular sized cab.
The idea for this simple re-design in form factor came with the realisation that most modern full suspension mountain bike frames are actually formed of several smaller structures- due to having rear suspension inherently the front and rear triangles of the frame are split. By splitting the frame into its respective components, a much more compact full bike size can be achieved- often all this necessitates is the removal of 4 pivot bolts for the rear seat and chainstay assembly.
This results in a full bike size that is much more manageable, and thus results in a bike box with a significantly smaller size. By virtue of the shape of the box, the centre of gravity is directly over the rear wheel when the box is lifted by the handle- very little effort is required to manoeuvre the box or hold the handle aloft when in this position. The shape of the box is much more friendly to cars- I was able to fit my full suspension bike and kit in the back of a Nissan Micra with ease!
Internally the box is divided into different sections with a series of foam dividers. The wheels sit on the outside, and rest against internal struts in such a way that the rotors are protected from any impacts (so they don't have to be removed from the hubs whilst in transit.)
Having just used the setup to transport my bike on a seven and a half hour international flight, my bike arrived completely unscathed, and was a joy to wheel around Gatwick airport.
Obviously this is a very rough prototype, but has shown that there is definite scope here for a more resolved design.